follow your passions by starting your future

Is “Follow Your Passion” Bad Advice?

A recent study at Stanford explored the difference between finding your passion and developing your passion. The research examined how people may succeed or fail at developing their interests based on their beliefs and mindsets and why “finding” or “following” your passion may actually be unintentionally bad advice.

This research sparked an interesting conversation, especially among parents, about whether or not it’s good advice to tell your children to “follow their passion.”

Girl standing in spotlight on stage; following your passions

In one article, billionaire Mark Cuban was quoted as saying, “Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort.”

The author of that same article also wrote that we (i.e. parents) need to be aware that turning a passion into a career can backfire and it might be better to encourage kids to think in terms of meaningful work, instead.

It might sound like this is completely against what we do at The Forte Factor but it actually supports our coaching style 100%.

Instead of guiding people down a path they believe to be a specific goal or direction for them, we first take the time to help them tune in, to better understand why that path or direction is a goal for them. Sometimes, they’ll discover that it was actually someone else’s goal and not their own. Sometimes they’ll gain clarity about what’s possible (right now) and may need to adjust expectations and goals.

The key to your greatest happiness, engagement and performance in both work and life is your ability to know yourself – what you are good at, passionate about and what matters to you – and to align yourself to the places that need what you do and like best. You need to choose this – on purpose.

It’s not enough to say you’re following your passion; you also need to understand yourself and your world to know how you can leverage your passions, as well as your strengths, talents and values, to provide what the world needs. It’s why we do the work we do with our clients to help each of them discover, develop and live their strengths, based on what their local and larger worlds need today.

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Inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller said, “What is it on this planet that needs doing that I know something about that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?”

Take a moment to reflect on that quote. And the next time you hear someone say, “follow your passion,” realize a second part of their guiding advice was left unspoken. What they’re really saying is, “follow your passion. Define what the world needs that you can provide based on your own unique talents, strengths and passions, then go do it.”

Struggling to see where your passions and talents can lead you in today’s world? Contact us to learn how to pair your strengths, talents and passions with what your world needs today, and how to define your success based on that clarity.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Committing to More Effective Communication

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If You’re A Boomer, What’s Next?

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

I just turned 60. I have no intention of retiring anytime soon because, not only do I love what I do, but I can easily fit being a coach into the life that I want.

But we’re here to talk about you. As you start to approach or achieve retirement, how do you want to use your days?

Many people believe retirees spend all their time engaging in leisure activities, moving south to warmer climates and generally just slowing things down. If this makes life great for you, terrific! Go do it.

However, simply ending work isn’t always an easy or satisfactory step into retirement because most Boomers came from a period of great work intensity. Shifting to a new way of thinking about ourselves and our lives requires intentional thought.

I believe a successful starting point is to redefine the word retirement. Instead of thinking of it as “not working,” think of it as “a more intentional and planned use of your time.”

So how do you structure this next phase of life around what matters to you?

To feel healthy and live a life that matters, we all need purpose. Celebrity host Dr. Oz said, “If your heart doesn’t have a reason to beat, it generally won’t.” What matters to you can guide you to what’s next for you. It’s called purposeful living.

Consider these scenarios:

If you need to continue to work. What work will give you the social connection you want and the financial resources and/or medical benefits you need? How will what you do align to what you are good at and interested in doing? What opportunities align to your stamina, health, location and sense of community?

If you don’t need to work, but want to work. What type of work, schedule and environment will activate your sense of purpose and self-value? What contribution do you want to still make? What pressure does this take off you, and how does this allow you to choose the work more intentionally? What impact do you want to have?

If you don’t need to work. What passions can be engaged? What interests will help you feel that each day of life is exciting, meaningful and valuable? What can you share with others that you are interested in or an expert at? Where are the places for you to connect to make an impact and feel part of something valuable?

At any age, life gives you a blank slate each day from which you create what you want. Many people don’t intentionally and purposefully direct their choices, often resulting in their doing things that don’t align to their abilities and interests, or worse, make them feel stuck or afraid of change.

What is required is a thoughtful consideration of who you are – what you are good at, passionate about and what matters to you – and a review of the opportunities that connect to who you are. This is how any of us, at any point in our lives, can start to answer the question, “what’s next?”

This is a particularly critical question for Boomers to ask themselves to continue to direct and own their lives to make wise decisions and live life like it matters.

Consider engaging with me as your Life Coach to talk about what matters to you and what your next chapter can hold for you.


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